Cold, cold day on the River Rother trying to find my new river double figure pike - didn't crack it this trip, but I did open my account for the season with this freaky looking pike - always brilliant to land a pike!
Never caught one with a head/mouth like this before, although I have seen photos of them. And it did remind me that watching a pike float bob, then sail away is the most exciting thing in fishing!
TC was going shopping to the maxx and somehow I was roped in - but the river was a twenty minute walk away - could I leave her shopping and snag a barbel? So while she was off touching every item of clothing in the shop (twice) I raced to the riverbank...
Aware that the phone call to stop fishing could come at any moment I had a quick roll in every likely looking spot (pausing briefly to photograph a November butterfly). Just one bite - but it was all I needed - an excellent shopping trip!!
One thing or another has kept me off the riverbank for nearly three weeks - including missing a 3 day trip to The Wye & Severn with James. Not enough time to go pike fishing, but I managed to squeeze a quick fishing-fix on the Small River in - a couple of hours, four barbel banked - a bend in the rod and a smile on my face!
A couple of very quick trips to the Small River, the second of which I spotted this beauty sat between two weedbeds - a proper fight - and a fantastic double at 10lb 12oz! They are turning their noses up at bread now - only luncheon meat will do - autumn is offically here!
And the sole... Not an 'eel... Guess I was in the right plaice...
With the weather finally turning and summer a distant memory I thought I'd look back on my Pre-Season targets:
Take my Small River barbel total to over 1,500 fish- 1,591
A new PB rudd (2lb+), roach (2lb+) or perch (3lb+) - 2lb 10oz
A new river (Thames?) double figure barbel- Severn
And a double figure pike from a new water
Three of four checked off - I still fancy a crack at the roach & perch PBs - but that last target needs to be addressed!
Had to use up the remaining maggots from The Itchen - only one thing for it - an afternoon on the Small River chasing gudgeon - and I caught loads! Probably 30+, so I thought I'd have a mini species hunt. Eight species including 2 ultra-rare perch and 12 mini-barbel...
His Barbel Quest took James back to The Severn, I tagged along as I've never fished it before. We headed to a tidal section - a low population of fish, but they were rumoured to be big...
James was trying to add a double to his quest, I just wanted my first Severn barbel. Meat had worked well on The Wye but I wasn't convinced here - so I set up a second rod fishing a 16mm pellet...
To cut a long day short - fishing about 100 yards apart - only one bite between us in 12 hours (48 rod-hours). A barbel fell for the pellet - and what a barbel - it's always better to be lucky than good!!
Day 2: James & the camera crew slept in bivvies - I crashed out in the car - was up before dawn, while James was in hair & make up (not really, they were waiting for enough light) - I headed onto The Wye...
Great start - 8lb 13oz - luncheon meat accounting for all the fish.
Followed by - 9lb 7oz - rolled or very light ledger.
Surviving trespassers will be shot again.
Well over time now - 7lb 7oz - as the sun came out.
Day 1: James was doing a Drennen video, did I want to come down? Ummm. It's on a private stretch of the River Wye. Hell yeah! Water conditions weren't great after the recent rain - but it was very interesting to see how it was filmed. Did I take a rod with me?
Of course! First up - 8lb 0oz - they were feeding in the flood.
Oi you London folk - Get off my land!
Next up - 8lb 15oz - the business end.
Quick Pez - taste of America (can't get Pibb Xtra here).
And 9lb 5oz - thanks for the invite James - a fantastic day!
End of September already!
A quick look back at the summer season before it's wellies & wooly hats, written monthly as I went along...
I didn't wet a line in the closed season - but the opening morning made up for it - a double figure barbel before 9am! One of 38 Small River barbel in the first two weeks. The other highlight was rudd fishing in the boat with James - love that little boat. And not one, but two 2lb+ rudd to a new PB of 2lb 10oz - monster!
I took my Small River barbel total to over 1,500 and added double number 28 (recapture). Floating about in the boat I landed a surprise pike while rudd fishing. And two days on the Wye saw a lot of chub, plus three little barbel. The highlight of the month was a new river, Blackwater, barbel of 8lb 0oz on a tough rainy day.
Started with a fantastic trip to the Lake District catching carp from an old iron pit. A few local trips added 30 barbel to my season (Small River total now 96). I spent some time exploring the chalk stream & upper river with the stick 'n' pin - loads of brown trout, plus a 1lb 2oz roach. And I bagged my first 5lb+ chub of the season!
A few barbel took my season total to over 100 fish, but the main event was a fishing trip to the States. Over 20 sharks, seven red drum, 3 jacks and a massive stingray on light gear. I also enjoyed a bit of freshwater fishing; catching blue gill & some fantastic bowfin - and those swamp pike (chain pickerel) were absolutely amazing!
Can't wait to see what the winter season brings...